Chestnut Pancakes and Maple-Pecan Syrup


By now, many of us are listening to Christmas music in our cars, at work, and in the comfort of our homes.  One of the most well-known Christmas songs and a favorite among many is “The Christmas Song”, or subtitled “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open-Fire”. You know…

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose
Yule-tide carols being sung by a choir
And folks dressed up like Eskimos…

This song was written in 1944, and while the lyrics play out for many of us of caroling and dressing up warm,  there is one line that is hard to relate to. “Chestnut roasting on an open fire.” We didn’t exactly roast nuts at our house during Christmas. For over 25 years I have never tasted a roasted chestnut until recently my curiosity got the best of me.

The Christmas Chestnut

Long ago, during the months of November and December, pushcarts full of a variety of nuts filled the streets of cities. Seasonal nuts were precious and looked upon as a ‘treat’ or a luxury to have with meals. People fled to these pushcarts to buy a bag of nuts and saved them to be eaten only on Christmas.

The most popular nut was often the prized chestnut.

Chestnuts were typically served after the Christmas dinner as the final course. Often times, the nut was roasted in an open fire so the sweet aroma filled the house. The roasted nut would then be served with a fig or orange for a special Christmas dessert.

Nutrient Composition

Chestnuts are rather unique in their macronutrient make-up. They are high in carbohydrates and very low in fat, unlike all other nuts. In 100 grams of chestnuts you’ll find 53 grams of carbohydrates. Of those 53 grams, 11 come from simple sugars, 5 from fiber and the remaining 37 grams is starch. That makes them slightly sweet, especially when roasted.

Each nut is loaded with vitamins and minerals. Take vitamin C for example, every 100 grams of chestnuts provides 43 mg of vitamin C (72 % of DRI).

Many cultures around the world eat chestnuts as part of their daily diet since their starchy composition is similar to that of corn, plantain, and sweet potato. The nut can even be turned into flour and used for baking. After roasting, the nut is often added to stuffing and salads to embellish the taste.

Chestnut Pancakes and Maple Pecan Syrup


A favorite of mine is using roasted chestnuts to make Christmas pancakes. These pancakes will keep the family full throughout the morning while presents are being unwrapped and friends and family come over to visit.

Pancakes

2 cups roasted chestnuts
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ cup almond milk
3 tablespoon maple syrup, or 1 teaspoon liquid stevia

Maple Pecan Syrup

3/4 cup raw pecans
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Directions

In a blender combine all the pancake ingredients. Puree until the batter is smooth and thick.

On a hot non-stick griddle, measure out 1/4 cup of pancake batter per pancake. Cook each pancake for 2-3 minutes per side.

Meanwhile, wash out the blender and make the maple pecan syrup.

In the blender, combine all the maple syrup ingredients and pulse several times until desired texture is reached. Transfer the syrup to a saucepan and gently warm up the syrup over medium-heat.

Drizzle the warm syrup over the pancakes and enjoy.

Will you be eating chestnuts this year?

How To Start Planning For Next Year’s Preservation

Fresh produce is available all summer long.  Many hours are spent in the kitchen chopping, cooking, freezing, canning and drying to preserve the bounty for the rest of the year.  The fall will still bring a few fresh foods like squash, pumpkin, apples and pears.  But now that summer is winding down, prime season for a lot of produce is over.

It is tempting to sit back, take a deep breath and consider your summer produce preservation task over.  But before you do there is one more thing to consider.  Taking inventory and planning for next year!

It may seem early to start planning for next summer, but a little work now will really pay off for years to come.  Here are a few simple steps to make each season of preservation a success.

  1. Keep a record.  Make a spreadsheet and keep track of what produce you buy throughout the summer.  Be sure to note the quantity, cost and date of purchase.  Next summer you’ll know about when to expect and prepare for each type of produce and roughly how much it will cost.
  2. Make a list of your favorite recipes and pantry staples.  Do you make a lot of smoothies with frozen fruit?  Do you use a lot of jam?  Do you eat a lot of salsa?  Figure out what you’ll want available all year in your pantry and freezer.  Then you won’t forget anything.  And with a record of when all of the produce is available you’ll know exactly when you need to be ready to make it.
  3. Check your stock from last year.  Did you clear your freezer stock of fruits and vegetables last year?  Are your pantry shelves still overflowing with canned goods?  Assess how much you used to get an idea for how much you’ll want to make next year.  It’s easy to check your freezer stock if you keep a good record all year.
  4. Take inventory of this year.  Before using any of your freshly preserved foods take inventory of everything you have just preserved and made.
  5. Take inventory again next summer.  At the beginning of next summer take inventory again and see what’s left.  Did you make way too many pickles?  Did you run out of corn half way through winter?  The start of the next preservation season is a great time to assess.

Combine all of these steps to come up with a summer preservation plan.  The first year or two will take some work.  But after that you’ll have a running list of how much you need to preserve, when the produce will be ready, about how much it will cost and any necessary recipes and equipment (jars, lids, freezer bags or containers, etc.).

You can tweak the plan every year to meet the needs of your growing (or shrinking) family, the state of the crops (there probably won’t be as much peach, pear and apple canning this year!) and your schedule (a long summer vacation could mean you miss out on a particular fruit or vegetable).  Then enjoy a perfectly stocked freezer and pantry all year long.

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Four healthy homemade frozen treats

It is HOT here in West Michigan, and nothing cools you better on a hot day than a frozen treat.

Here are some recipes for quick, easy, healthy cold snacks that the whole family will love.  You can make them in traditional popsicle molds (be sure they are BPA free) or just use cups or small mason jars and popsicle sticks.

1. Vanilla Ice Cream Bars

What’s better than ice cream?  Ice cream on a stick!  This simple recipe comes together in minutes.  Stir in fruit or chocolate chips for an extra special treat.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 2 Tbsp. honey
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method of Preparation

Blend all ingredients and pour into molds or cups.  Freeze until solid.

Optional: Fold chopped fresh fruit or mini chocolate chips into the mix before pouring into molds.

2. Frozen Cheesecake Pops

This easy recipe gives you the flavor of cheesecake in frozen form. Plus it’s full of probiotics. You can use any fruit you like and blend it in or keep it whole. To make these really healthy use homemade yogurt and graham crackers!

Ingredients

1 cup plain full fat yogurt
1/4 cup full fat sour cream
1/4 cup cream or whole milk (optional)
3 Tbsp. maple syrup
2 Tbsp. honey
3/4 cups fresh or frozen blueberries (or any fruit you like)
3/4 cups crushed graham crackers (preferably homemade…even better use soaked)

Method of Preparation

1. Crush graham crackers into pea size pieces (you can do this easily by pulsing them in the food processor a few times or do it by hand).

2. Combine yogurt, sour cream, syrup and honey. To make a blended pop, place this mixture in a food processor or blender with the fruit and blend. If keeping the fruit whole, simply mix it all by hand.

3. Pour yogurt/fruit mixture over graham crackers and mix.

4. Pour the mixture into popsicle molds or cups with popsicle sticks and freeze until solid.

 

3. Pudding Pops

Turn your favorite pudding into a frozen treat.  Simply prepare the pudding, let it cool and freeze it.  I use this great recipe for homemade pudding from Heavenly Homemakers.  (you can use your favorite recipe)  Try vanilla, chocolate or butterscotch.

Better yet, mix a couple flavors for a swirled pudding pop!

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup rapadura or 1/2 cup real maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 4 Tbsp. arrowroot powder (or organic cornstarch)
  • 1/4 tsp. sea salt
  • 3 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

Method of Preparation

1. In a medium saucepan, whisk together milk, egg yolks, rapadura or maple syrup, cocoa, arrowroot powder and salt.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring CONSTANTLY until pudding begins to thicken.

3. Remove immediately from the heat, and continue to stir until pudding is creamy.

4. Add butter and vanilla and continue to stir until mixed.

5. Let the pudding cool for about 30 minutes and pour into popsicle molds or cups (insert sticks).  Freeze until solid.
 

4. Fresh Fruit Popsicles

homemade popsiclesBlend your favorite fruit for a nutritious snack.

  • In season fruit – Strawberries, watermelon, peaches, blueberries, raspberries (or any combination)
  • Honey to taste (if fruit is not very sweet)

Method of Preparation

1. Puree fruit in a blender until smooth.

2. Strain seeds for berry popsicles if desired.

3. Mix in honey if fruit is not sweet enough.

4. Pour into popsicle molds or cups with popsicle sticks.

5. Freeze until solid.

 

Try one (or all!) of these frozen treats to beat the heat!

What are your favorite ways to prepare homemade popsicles?


Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Fun with fruit

With all of this warm weather we’ve been having lately, I’ve been trying to keep my family hydrated. But my little ones balk at drinking plain water unless they are super hot and have been outside.

Outside all day or not, I still want to make sure that they have the hydration they need.

And what tastier way to get it than with fruit? Especially a water rich fruit like melon.

Last week we had some fun making “watermelon cookies”.




The best part, was that because it was something “fun” and “different”, my kids thought these were real treats – begging for Watermelon Cookies for dessert. We’ve also brought them camping and to the beach, nicely packed in coolers for a bit of refreshment in the hot sun.

Have you ever made cookie cutter fruit?



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Simple Spring Supper…Soufflé

It’s spring and the weather is getting warmer.

What does this mean? It means I start spending less time (or at least that is my hope) in the kitchen making dinner and more time outside playing with my kids. It also means that summer will be here soon with all of its wonderful produce. So now is the perfect time to clean out the freezer to use up what we preserved last year and make room for what’s to come…which may be sooner than usual this year with all of the warm weather. We’ve already got asparagus popping up in our yard!

Today I’m sharing a versatile recipe for soufflé. The idea actually came from my (just turned) four-year old daughter. She often likes to dream up food ideas when she’s play cooking or when I ask her what she likes to eat. The other day she said she wanted pea soufflé. I thought for a moment and then said “I guess we can. I don’t see why not. Let’s try it.”

souffle

Then I thought if it works with peas, it’ll probably work with just about any vegetable you like. This recipe is great for using up the little containers of leftover vegetables in the fridge. It’s also great for using those last few vegetables from the freezer.

Want a simple and cheap dinner? Make this with just eggs and vegetables. Want to add a little more bulk and protein to it? Mix in some cooked chicken, ham or bacon (I usually have at least  one of those in my freezer). Do you like more texture? Add some diced, cooked vegetables.

Do some spring cleaning in your kitchen. Raid your fridge and your freezer for a nourishing and simple meal that the whole family will love. Try some variations to see what combinations your family likes best. And make room for the summer produce that will be here before we know it! You can prepare the pureed vegetables ahead of time so all you have to do is mix, pour and bake when you’re ready to make dinner. Stick it in the oven (or the toaster oven if you don’t want to heat your house) and go play for another hour. Pair it with some fresh fruit, and homemade bread or a simple salad and dinner is served. Pressed for time? Pour the batter into muffin cups and reduce baking time to 30 minutes for mini soufflés. One other great thing about this recipe is that you can serve it for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Leftovers are easily reheated for a quick, healthy breakfast.

This recipe also works as a dessert. Use up some homemade applesauce you’ve got stored in your pantry or freezer for a healthy, slightly sweet treat.

souffle

Simple Spring Soufflé

Ingredients
3 cups cooked vegetable(s) (any combination you like)
1 cup milk
1 cup crushed homemade or organic whole wheat cracker OR ½ cup wheat flour OR ½ cup coconut flour
¾ cups shredded cheese (if you are dairy free you can leave this out)
¼ cup minced onion (optional)
2 Tbsp. butter (or coconut oil), softened
3 eggs
Cooked, diced chicken, turkey, ham or bacon (optional)
Diced, cooked vegetables (optional, if you like some texture)
Seasoning to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder, paprika)

Method of Preparation
1. Cook vegetables until tender.

2. Puree cooked veggies with a small amount of water or broth in a blender or with an immersion blender. Transfer to a bowl (at this point you can refrigerate the vegetables until you are ready to make the soufflé. Bring the vegetables to room temp before adding the remaining ingredients).

3. Slowly whisk the milk into the vegetables.

4. Add crumbs/flour, cheese, onion, butter and seasoning. Mix well.

5. Beat eggs and add to vegetable mixture.

6. Add meat and diced vegetables if desired.

7. Pour into a greased 2 qt. casserole. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, until set in the middle. Let sit a couple of minutes before serving.

Sample variations

  • Peas (with ham)
  • Butternut squash and broccoli (with chicken)
  • Carrot and cauliflower
  • Sweet potato and corn (with bacon)
  • Spinach, beans and carrot (with bacon and diced mushrooms)

Dessert Soufflé

Ingredients
2 cups unsweetened applesauce or pearsauce
½ cup milk
½ cup crushed organic or homemade graham crackers OR ½ cup coconut flour
2 Tbsp. butter (or coconut oil), softened
2 eggs
Spices to taste (cinnamon, nutmeg)
Dried fruit or nuts (optional)
Honey or maple syrup to taste (optional)
Method of Preparation
1. Whisk the milk into the applesauce.

2. Add crumbs/flour and spices, mix well.

3. Beat eggs and add to mixture.

4. Add dried fruit, nuts and/or sweetener if desired.

5. Pour into a greased 1 ½ qt. casserole. Bake at 350 for 45 min. – 1hour, until set in the middle. Let sit a couple of minutes before serving.

 

Do you enjoy making a soufflé? What are your favorite ‘flavors’?

 

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Simple, Fun, and Healthy Valentine’s Day Meals

healthy valentine's day

photo crdit: vintagehalloweencollector

Valentine’s Day is all about telling others we love them.  And what better way to show love to your family, especially your children, then with nourishing, delicious, heart healthy food?  Just because it’s a holiday doesn’t mean you have to resort to junk food.  There are many foods that will both treat your family and keep them healthy.

Try celebrating your Valentine’s Day with some of these kid-friendly/husband-friendly meals and desserts.

 

Breakfast

A great way to start the day is with plenty of protein, healthy fat, probiotics and complex carbohydrates. It’ll give you the energy you need to get you through your day without resorting to quick -me-ups like candy and coffee.

Smoothies and heart-shaped pancakes are a great choice for a themed Valentine’s Day breakfast!

Healthy (sweet)heart Smoothie:

  • ½ cup strawberries (frozen, thawed or fresh)
  • ¼ cup cherries (frozen, thawed or fresh)
  • ¼ avocado
  • 2 egg yolks (from pastured chickens only)
  • 1 cup yogurt, kefir and/or sour cream
  • 1-3 Tbsp. honey, to taste (or maple syrup)
  • 1-2 Tbsp. melted coconut oil

 Method of Preparation

Combine all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.
pancakes
Pancakes are easy to make and many varieties can be made with ingredients you already have on hand:

(Strawberry topping for pancakes is easy to make by just mashing strawberries with a little honey until of a syrupy consistency.)

 

Lunch

What’s more fun for lunch than finger foods and milkshakes? Your kids (and you!) will love this red, heart themed lunch on Valentine’s Day. Pair your sandwiches with homemade fruit leather and red pepper slices.

Make a strawberry jam and nut butter sandwich (or any kind your child likes/tolerates). Cut it into a heart shape. Cut the scraps into bite size pieces for snacking, or into really small pieces to use as a topping for yogurt.

For an extra special treat, serve up a healthy milkshake!

Chocolate or Strawberry Milkshakes:

  •  1 cup milk (preferably raw) (kefir, sour cream or coconut milk can be used)
  • ½ cup frozen strawberries OR 2 tsp. organic cocoa powder
  • 1 egg yolk (optional)
  • Honey or maple syrup to taste (you will need a little more for the chocolate shake)

Method of Preparation

Blend all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Adjust sweetness to taste.

 

Dinner

Dinner is a time for the whole family to sit down and share a meal, and these dinner ideas are healthy, tasty and fun.

1. Make whole wheat or sourdough pizza dough, split it into individual portions (before baking), shape them into hearts and add your favorite toppings.

2. Salmon cakes are a fun way to get kids to eat seafood and make sure they are getting plenty of heart healthy omega-3s. Add carrot or sweet potato fries and a vegetable and you’ve got a delicious dinner. (To make these easier for very small children to eat, form them into small balls and cook without flattening them – perfect finger food!)

 3. A classic – tomato soup and grilled cheese. You can even use your crockpot to make a healthy version. Pair it with a heart-shaped grilled cheese for a healthy dinner the whole family will love. Use the sandwich scraps for dipping!

 

Tomato Soup

photo credit: ilovememphis

Dessert

What’s Valentine’s Day without a little treat? These desserts will satisfy without filling your body with junk. You can even make a “dessert” with no added sugars, so you can treat the whole family, even the littlest ones.

1. Peanut butter brownies (grain free) only take minutes to mix. Cut them into little hearts for an extra special treat.

2. Russian custard is one of my personal favorites (recipe below!). It only takes a few minutes to make, is full of nutrients and is slightly sweet. Mix in strawberries or raspberries for a Valentine’s treat. You can turn it into a breakfast, lunch or snack any other time. I mix in dried fruit, nuts, fresh fruit and/or homemade granola. It’s a great way to get picky eaters to eat eggs.

Russian custard:

  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp. honey

Method of Preparation

Mix eggs and honey with a hand mixer on high speed about 4-5 minutes, until yolks get thick and turn pale yellow/almost white. Put in 2 dishes and top with fruit, nuts or granola. This can be made in individual servings or in a larger batch for a whole family.

 

This next “dessert” is something I came up with while feeding my 8 month old and trying to get plenty of nourishing food in his diet. I found that it is quite a delicious treat! I add coconut oil, butter and egg yolk to fruit. Sometimes I add a little pureed veggie as well. You could even add probiotics and cod liver oil! So much good stuff, but it still tastes like a treat. The strawberries are a special add-in for Valentine’s Day.

Fruit Custard

  • ¼ cup homemade pearsauce or applesauce
  • 1 -2 tsp. strained strawberry puree (optional)
  • 2 tsp. coconut oil
  • 1 tsp. butter
  • 1 egg yolk

Optional:

  • 3 tsp. pureed pumpkin or squash
  • Probiotic powder
  • Cod liver oil

Method of Preparation

Place sauce, fruit and fat in a small glass dish. Warm in toaster oven just until the fat has melted. Stir to combine. Mix in egg yolk and any extras. Serves one child.

 

As you can see, it’s very easy to eat well and treat your family on a fun holiday like Valentine’s Day! If you’re looking for other recipes for sweet treats try either Kate’s ebook “Treat Yourself ” which contains many grain free recipes or Katie’s ebook “Smart Sweets “.

 

This post is linked to: Real Food Wednesday

Mary Voogt is a follower of Christ, a wife, and a mother of two. After 6 years as an electrical engineer she now stays home full time. She is passionate about real food and enjoys spending lots of time in the kitchen cooking and baking from scratch. She blogs at Homemade Dutch Apple Pie on a variety of topics including digestive issues, OCD, anxiety, infertility, natural parenting and healthy food.

Homemade Graham Crackers {recipe}

homemade graham crackersI’m always trying to find crackers that don’t have all the ‘junk’ in them, but of course the price is double from those that do. So I thought I would try to make my own and found this recipe.

Not only is it a lot cheaper than store-bought, you can also change the sweetness, adding more or less, to suit your own taste preference.

 

Graham Crackers

2 1/2 cups graham flour (you can find this in the supermarket by the other wheat flours)
1 cup whole wheat flour (or unbleached all purpose for a lighter cracker)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon (extra for sprinkling)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup raw honey
1/4 cup whole cane sugar (brown sugar if you must) (extra for sprinkling)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3/4 cup water

Method of Preparation

1. Mix graham flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt in a good size bowl. Set aside.

2. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy.

3. Add in honey and vanilla to butter and sugar.

4. Alternating water and flour, add to creamed mixture, beating well each time.

5. Cover dough and let set for 30 minutes.

6. Divide the dough in half and place onto a lightly greased cookie sheet.

7. Using a rolling pin, roll the mixture onto the cookie sheet until about 1/4 inch high.

8. Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over the top and lightly press into the dough.

9. Cut lines in the dough to form rectangles or squares.

10. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes or until brown.

You can also taste the dough before rolling it out to test for desired sweetness. If you need it sweeter, just add equal amounts of honey and whole cane sugar.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

Rubbery Celery

I’m really good about buying celery cause I know how healthy it is and I figure I’ll eat it for snacks and all. Problem is, a lot of times I don’t eat it. I get lazy and don’t feel like cutting it and washing it, in order to have a snack. Or it gets pushed to the back of the fridge to be forgotten in the land of mystery foods.

It sits in the crisper and I pay no attention to it for a week or so, and then I try to eat it before it goes bad. Unfortunately it’s usually gone rubbery and no fun to eat. Then I came across an idea (can’t remember where) to cut the stems off at the bottom and place them in a tall bowl or pitcher, put a couple of inches of water in the bottom, and stick it in the fridge for a couple of hours.

You’ll end up with celery as good as new and no need to send it out to the compost pile.


Homemade crackers are easier than they may seem to be! Crackers are often used as quick snacks for small children; they’re easy, they’re compact, and easy to bring along while traveling. But most pre-made crackers contain added preservatives, to much salt, and even excess sugar.

Homemade Wheat Thins

Homemade crackers are easier than they may seem to be! Crackers are often used as quick snacks for small children; they’re easy, they’re compact, and easy to bring along while traveling. But most pre-made crackers contain added preservatives, to much salt, and even excess sugar. Making your own is not only cheaper, but you’ll know exactly what your family is eating – healthy, wholesome foods.

Homemade Wheat Thins

Ingredients

3 cups oatmeal (ground using a food processor or blender)
3 cups whole white wheat flour (has a lighter flavor than regular whole wheat flour, though that’s acceptable as well)
2-3 Tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 – 2 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil or melted butter
1 cup warm water

Method of Preparation

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix all ingredients together and separate into 2 equal balls of dough. Let set for 20-30 minutes.

3. Roll each onto lightly greased cookie sheets as thin as you can get them.

4. Sprinkle with additional salt and then lightly take the rolling pin to press into dough.

5. Cut into squares.

6. Bake for about 15 minutes and then check to make sure they aren’t getting to brown. Pull out any around the edges that are starting to brown and harden. If they get to brown they won’t taste good. Pop the rest back into the oven and continue to check every few minutes. I tend to take these out before they are completely browned as they make a softer cracker for little mouths and I keep them in longer for a crispy cracker for me.

You can also substitute the wheat flours with an all purpose gluten free flour mix.

*I haven’t messed around with “properly” soaking these, though I can imagine that mixing the flours, oil, and water along with a bit of an acidic medium like apple cider vinegar, and let sit overnight would be acceptable and not change the outcome.



All images and content are protected under US copyright laws, please do not copy and paste.

Links in the post above may be affiliate or referral links - meaning that through a sale I may be given monetary benefit. I blog with integrity and only endorse companies and products I love.

This blog is for educational purposes only. The information provided by Donielle, or any contributor, is not intended to diagnose, treat, or cure any condition. If you are seeking medical advice, please search out a qualified health practitioner.

How to Eat Local Produce on a Budget

Summer has an uncanny knack of turning many of us into wannabe health enthusiasts. At no other time of the year is there such an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables at our fingertips. And it’s not to late in the year to take advantage of fresh produce!

Sure, you can still buy strawberries at the supermarket in December. But their taste and quality doesn’t hold a candle to the ones you can buy from a farm during peak strawberry season.

During the summer, our farmer’s markets and local stores seem almost made of juicy tomatoes, peaches, and piles of crisp cucumbers. They’re pulling out the brightest and best the season has to offer, and for many of us, these are the best prices we’ll see on produce all year.

As a result, the foodie and health nut in me adores summer. While Chris and I have been on a minimal food budget for years, my passion for whole, healthy food has taught me that I can be efficient and creative with whatever I have. During the summer, I’m grateful our little family can eat plenty of local produce.

Here are a few ways I’ve learned to do that:

1. Make friends with the local produce stand

It seems like produce stands crop up at almost every street corner over the summer. In the past, I shopped at one in particular that was close to our house. For awhile, I pulled the cash out of my grocery envelope and bought as much as I could, following the set prices.

After several weeks of being a consistent, reliable customer, they started letting me buy an entire box of produce for a very reduced price. It was a mutually beneficial deal. I knew I could get fruits and vegetables super cheap, and they knew that I would come every week.

2. Ask for “Seconds”

“Seconds” are overripe or slightly damaged produce that fruit stands know they won’t be able to sell. Quite often, they are taken home and thrown away.

Periodically, I ask the people running the stand if they have any seconds I can take home. If I’m a regular customer, they’ll often gladly give me a box stuffed with peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini that has become spotted or bruised.

When I get home, the damaged produce gets chopped, grated, etc., and packed into the freezer.

 

3. Buy a lot of produce at once

If you don’t have a local produce stand, you can go to the farmer’s market and ask to produce by the bushel or half-bushel. I’ve been able to buy local apples and squash for 50 cents a pound, and whatever we didn’t eat fresh was made into applesauce, frozen for later, or cooked into meals for the freezer.

Each market and produce stand is different, so you’ll have to discover what will work for you. However, by using a combination of these methods, I’ve been able to stock our kitchen with locally grown fruits and vegetables for a fraction of the normal cost.

That makes me love summer even more!

 

Bio: When Steph and her husband got married, they lived in a renovated shed and had a grocery budget that matched. As a passionate whole-foodie, Steph was determined to continue eating healthy, minimally-processed foods on their shoestring budget. So The Cheapskate Cook was born.



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